Unlike a few decades ago, when the supply (of educational institutes) was lesser than the demand, today there is a proliferation of colleges, universities and other higher educational institutes that provide specialized education and vocational courses. They face stiff competition for the attention of tens of thousands of prospective students. Digital marketing, especially content marketing, can play a significant role in increasing the awareness, recognition, and reputation of your institute.
Research shows that students primarily look for the following five characteristics in the institution (university or college) that they would like to join:
- Academic programs/courses
- Tuition fees/cost
- Placement record
- Proximity to home
Here we present a few ideas – rooted in content – which you can use to engage with young people in the media that they are most comfortable with:
1. Use social media to attract your target audience:
A survey by the EV group recently noted that almost 90% of students in the age group of 18-20 years rely on Facebook to search for educational institutes of their liking. The popular social media channel has become a favorite and trusted go-to place for them to gather information, take feedback, and form opinions about various institutions.
Apart from Facebook, other well-liked channels are Twitter and the blogs belonging to respective colleges or universities. These are the preferred sources of information for potential students. Here is where your presence should be felt extensively so that your institution gets widespread recognisability and develops a ‘trust factor’ in the minds of readers.
Takeaway: Create and post relevant messages on these channels that will help students in their search. Sections or postings such as ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ will help them clear any confusion and get a better idea of what your institution offers.
2. Make it convenient for users to access your institution:
It is a known fact that more internet users use their smartphones to access the internet rather than their laptops. Hence, your college website should be optimized for giving the best display experience on the tiny mobile phone screens. Apart from this, having an app developed for your institution will give smartphone users a highly convenient means to access all the content on your website.
Takeaway: Make all your website content mobile-friendly for more accessibility.
3. Display academic superiority with quality content:
Use your blog to showcase different aspects of your university/college’s unique features. Describe new and exclusive academic programs or courses that distinguish your institute from others. Interviews with faculty members can turn the spotlights on specific programs. Discussing trending topics, resolving issues faced by the student community, and more such relevant actions create a community feeling and engender trust in your authority as a thought leader in the academics space.
Takeaway: Have sections of your website dedicated to potential students, with content relevant and highly useful to them in their decision-making process.
4. Connect with your alumni:
The alumni of your institution can be an excellent source of endorsements and word-of-mouth publicity. Positive feedback from them can be an enormous confidence booster for prospective students (and their parents). Alumni can also be great donors and contributors to the institute. Hence it is very important to maintain connections with alumni of the institute.
Takeaway: Create and update the content on the Alumnus page regularly with bios of alumni, news about famous and successful alumni, reunions and other events.
Following these 4 steps will be a great start towards getting the most out of your website, with regard to attracting and impressing future students to your organization. Apart from these content-based ideas, there are several other ways to increase the reach and appeal of your institution, in order to increase the returns on your marketing investments.
For more information on these, contact us at www.digitant.com